The Lady Bisons cross-country team was favored to rank high in the Great American Conference this season. Assistant professor and coach Steve Guymon, along with other coaches in the GAC, voted based on which runners were returning from the fall 2012 season, creating a list of teams that were favored to place in conference for the fall 2013 season. Going into a season with such a high ranking placed high expectations upon the team members and made them adjust practice techniques accordingly. Sophomore Kelsey Taylor explained practices became more rigorous than they were previously.
“Since the first week of practice, we have been working hard to stay together and run together,” Taylor said. “If we want to succeed as a team, being able to do this is very important. Starting it in practice, we can in turn later see it in a race, which has already been showing, and I hope will continue to develop.”
The Lady Bisons were in competition against tougher teams such as Southern Arkansas University and Eastern Central University. However, the team was well prepared for the competition. The freshmen and upperclassmen worked well together, as they pushed each other in practice. According to freshman Tammy Kim, the challenges endured in practice and competition strengthened relationships between the older and younger team members.
“I really enjoy the team aspect of cross-country,” Kim said. “Having a bigger team this year made cross-country more fun. We all get along so well and push each other that we form a bond that doesn’t really happen with any other sport.”
The team won its last conference title in 2011, and Guymon had high expectations to send several runners to nationals again in the fall 2013 season. Taylor agreed that the pool of talent on the team was conference-worthy.
“You never know what to expect with coach, but as long as you trust him everything else seems to settle into place,” Taylor said. “We have done a lot of different things this year and personally from seeing the way my teammates compete and the times they are dropping in races, it shows we are in better shape right now than we were this time last season.”
The team worked hard in preparation for conference and other races by setting team and individual goals, giving them confidence going into the season. Kim’s goal was to beat her personal record and place in the top ten at conference.
Knowing they were favored in the GAC conference was an honor for the Lady Bisons as well as an incentive to train hard in preparation.
“Going into conference as a team, knowing we are going to be expected to do well, is an honor to the team Coach Guymon and so many before him have worked to make,” Taylor said. “If anything, I feel it gives myself and the team the desire to push ourselves harder and give it 120 percent of ourselves as a thanks to coach and Harding for all the things they do for us and the things beyond running we learn.”